Popular Music History, Vol 4, No 2 (2009)

Nowhere man: urban life and the virtualization of popular music

Paul Graves-Brown

Abstract


Music is not a physical thing, but an event and an action, and since modern urban and posturban ‘places’ are fragmented, topological and often virtual, the attempt to monumentalize popular music seems misguided. The monumental sense of place is based on concepts of tenure and ownership that are challenged by the fluidity of modern urban life. Rapid transport and the media of instant communication have created a non-Euclidean sense of place, and the development of recording and other audio media over the last 130 years has been integral to this process, emphasizing time axis manipulation over the fixity of location. This paper does not seek to refute the connection between music and place, but rather to see both making and listening to music as involving a dynamic construction of place which is necessitated by the ephemeral, kinetic nature of music itself.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v4i2.220

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